Cardinals load up with offensive linemen, defensive backs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) After producing its first Heisman Trophy winner, Louisville coach Bobby Petrino worked to fortify the line that will protect in quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Jackson's milestone sophomore season had Louisville (9-4) near the cusp of consideration for the College Football Playoff before their outside prospects collapsed with three straight losses including a bowl game. While the Cardinals' class of 22 signees announced Wednesday includes seven defensive backs and safeties, the big additions are five offensive line recruits.

They all weigh more than 300 pounds, and the coaching staff loves their athleticism.

''I feel like we hit the numbers that we needed,'' Petrino said about the secondary and O-line. ''But also the type of athlete, type of players that could come in and have the ability right away to play.''

Louisville's class includes seven players from Georgia and four from Florida. Just one signee, 6-foot-3, 319-pound offensive lineman Cole Bentley, hails from Kentucky. The 30th-ranked class is Louisville's highest ranking since 2011, the first full class recruited by former coach Charlie Strong.

---

Other things to know:

Top 25 Class: No

Best in class: RB Colin Wilson, a four-star prospect. The 6-1, 221-pounder had career rushing totals of 3,931 yards and 67 touchdowns.

Best of the rest: S C.J. Avery and CB Russ Yeast, son of former Kentucky standout and NFL receiver Craig Yeast.

Late addition: OL Mekhi Becton, who committed on Wednesday. Georgia, Michigan, Oregon and Virginia Tech were among the suitors for the 6-7, 335-pounder.

One that got away: DE Aaron Odom, who ended a roller-coaster recruiting process by going back to Mississippi State. The Mississippi native initially committed to the Bulldogs before flipping to Louisville after the schools exchanged defensive coordinators. He eventually settled on the SEC school after visiting last month.

How they'll fit in: Petrino noted that a number of players at both the skill and line positions will get to prove themselves in practice and work their way into the rotation.

---

For the full list: gocards.com

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.